By Nate Raymond
(Reuters) -A federal appeals court docket on Friday overturned the conviction of a physician accused of unlawfully prescribing addictive opioids in Arizona and Wyoming after the U.S. Supreme Court docket issued a ruling in his favor that made it more durable to prosecute such circumstances.
The Denver-based tenth U.S. Circuit Court docket of Appeals dominated that underneath final 12 months’s Supreme Court docket’s choice, jurors have been wrongly instructed on how one can decide whether or not Shakeel Kahn knowingly prescribed highly effective medication in an unlawful method.
He was on the heart of a Supreme Court docket ruling in January 2022 that raised the bar for what prosecutors should show to safe convictions of docs accused of fueling the U.S. opioid disaster by turning their medical practices into “capsule mills.”
Kahn’s lawyer, Beau Brindley, stated in an announcement Friday’s choice “ought to pave the way in which to lastly ending the apply of unfairly scapegoating docs for an opiate disaster for which they have been by no means accountable.”
Kahn, 56, has been serving a 25-year jail sentence after a jury in Wyoming in 2019 discovered him responsible of unlawfully distributing prescription medicines, working a seamless legal enterprise and different fees.
Prosecutors stated Kahn from 2011 to 2016 prescribed highly effective ache medication to folks in Arizona and Wyoming in alternate for cash after performing perfunctory or no examinations. They included one lady who died of an oxycodone overdose.
At trial, Kahn didn’t contest that sufferers abused their medicines however disputed what his intent was in prescribing them medication, asserting he had a “good religion” cause to imagine his prescriptions have been legitimate.
He took his case to the Supreme Court docket, which held that prosecutors must show that docs knew they illegally pharmaceuticals in violation of the federal Managed Substances Act.
The justices left to the three-judge tenth Circuit panel to determine whether or not jurors have been correctly instructed in Kahn’s case underneath that normal.
U.S. Circuit Choose Mary Beck Briscoe wrote that they weren’t, saying the directions “successfully lowered the federal government’s burden to displaying solely that Dr. Kahn’s habits was objectively unauthorized – not that Dr. Kahn supposed to behave with out authorization.”